Special Report: Security Versus the Mob

An in-depth look at the battle against organized crime in the physical and digital worlds, from retail theft to identity theft

CSOs are pros. Likewise, the threats they fend off come increasingly from professional opponents. The word "mob" may conjure images of Tommy Gun-toting patriarchs, but the new mob—while still bearing some connections to the old crime families—is looser in its structure and thoroughly modern in its tactics. "People have got to get the image of Don Corleone out of their minds," says Frank Heidt, CEO of Leviathan Security. "That isn't organized crime, and it hasn't been since the 1950s."

Retail crime specialists think that about 40 percent to 45 percent of retail theft now comes from organized crime groups. Efficiently shoplifting and fencing everyday products, organized retail theft creates a $30 billion to $40 billion hole in balance sheets in the U.S. alone.

Read more in Organized Crime and Retail Theft: Facts and Myths

On the digital side, a 2009 data breach report by Verizon Business Services estimated that 91 percent of cyberrecords theft went to organized criminal groups. Cybercrime costs businesses billions of dollars worldwide, perhaps even more than a hundred billion dollars. The sheer scope of these problems means CSOs can't leave the job to the police.

Read more in Organized Cybercrime Revealed

The kind of organized crime that plagues corporations is fluid and flexible, flouting national or ethnic boundaries in ways deliberately meant to frustrate law enforcement. It's a shadow economy that only gets bigger when clouds obscure the regular economy. Understanding the adversary is, as always, the first step toward finding solutions. Actively sharing information and best practices comes close behind.

Hence this special report. CSO spoke with leaders both on the corporate side and in various industry and law enforcement groups to show the mechanisms of today's organized crime and the steps you can take to protect your business against it.

Naturally, the best answer to organized crime is organized defense.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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